Film Review: GRAVITY

Directed by Alfonso Cuaron
Written by Alfonso and Joseph Cuaron
Starring: Sandra Bullock and George Clooney (with the voice of Ed Harris)

Despite its universally good reviews, GRAVITY is not for everyone. It’s static and dizzying at the same time. It’s quiet but at times, astonishingly loud. It’s about death and about life. It’s about loneliness and our need for companionship. It evokes every sort of dread we can imagine. It is graceful and clumsy. It is dark and bright. You will feel off-kilter more than once. It uses the space age technology of C.G.I. to tell what is a timeless story in many ways. It ends at the time and place that life begins. First and foremost it is a gorgeous film that reminds us just how glorious outer space is.

Matt Kowalski (Clooney) and Dr. Ryan Stone (Bullock) are working outside their space shuttle when word comes that an obsolete Russian satellite has been destroyed and its remnants are hurtling toward them. Stone is a nervous medical engineer on her first space mission and relies on Clooney to keep her steadied in different ways. He is good at this, calms her down, and talks her through what she must do to return to earth. She has problems of her own that relate to and confound what she will go through in the next hour or so.

Both actors appear mostly as faces in a space helmet. We rely on their voices to move the narrative, and they do a fine job of it. This is mostly Bullock’s film and she has never been better. We root for her, fear for her, feel for her.

There is plenty of excitement in GRAVITY, but there are stretches of quiet that are just as fearsome. I thought this was an amazing film, but not everyone will. Highly recommended.

Patti Abbott